Finding my voice.
Day 88 of my quarantine experience was a gorgeous, cool, sunny day. Sadly, I did not have the chance to get outside to enjoy it. The sore throat that so marred my Friday (day 87) was better, but it had morphed into something far more annoying.
I live alone and have lived alone for most of my adult life. I also love to talk – as my friends can attest. So living alone means that I tend to talk to myself out loud all the time. Otherwise, I would be spending most of my life in total silence, and that’s just not something that appeals to me.
I bring this up because that’s how I realized that I had laryngitis. I woke up and my left tonsil was still swollen and painful, a combination of post-nasal drip and being a side sleeper. I popped a couple of Ibuprofen and then moved to the kitchen to make coffee, but when I started to talk to myself about how I was feeling, I realized that very little sound was coming out.
I recognized the symptoms – what singer or actor doesn’t? It’s a very specific feeling and a sound, and anyone who is a speaker or performer lives in dread of it. Well, I had it. This morning, as I type this post, it still lingers on even though it is markedly better today.
Throughout the day, instead of going out to enjoy the sunshine and the fantastic temperatures in the mid-sixties, I stayed inside and rested as much as possible. I did every normal laryngitis “thing” – warm liquid, hot shower, steam, salt water gargling, drinking lots of liquid, and nearly total vocal rest.
I used my self-imposed isolation as a chance to do some serious cooking. I had all the ingredients available, so I managed to cook a Paella for the first time ever. It turned out great, if I do say so myself, so perhaps being stuck inside by my own choice had at least one upside.
Still, some questions linger. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a strong spiritual belief system that includes the idea that nothing happens without a purpose. For me, any clear imbalance in my life (whether medical or not) points to a message the Universe is trying to send me. Something as dramatic as laryngitis must be there in part to send me some kind of message.
On a mundane level, there are messages about lack of proper hydration, drinking too much alcohol (which dries out the larynx), and about being careful not to turn the AC down too low while I am sleeping. Cold AC has been the catalyst for several bouts of bronchitis and a couple of sinus infections in my past, so I got that message loud and clear.
But beyond the mundane, on a higher and more profound level, there must be other messages for me here. Also, I have to look at the laryngitis as part of a larger series of things, not just in a vacuum. For instance, my lower back pain was/is a powerful and painful message. The burned out headlight on my car – a car that I have barely touched in three months – is another.
One kept me from driving, one from moving, one from speaking. Both the back and the headlight were on the left side – the side of the body that medical intuitives assign to issues of emotion and intuition. Even the tonsil that is swollen is the left tonsil, not the right one. Patterns emerge.
So today, I have to spend more quality time with myself to unravel this series of messages that I seem to have been ignoring. I feel as though someone/something is trying to tell me that I have lost my voice – not just in the physical sense, but in the larger metaphysical sense as well. I am not speaking my truth, I am not expressing myself clearly, I am not being authentic.
As I ponder many of the things that have come up for me during this quarantine, I realize that there are many themes but one of them is the them of “should.” All my life, I have focused almost exclusively on a fear of what others will think or say or do in regard to me. I learned that if you are smart enough and pay close enough attention, you can figure out what people want to see or hear or have from you and you can then give it to them so that you are safe. As long as you are useful, you are safe. That’s a deep belief of mine that comes from my earliest childhood.
So this quarantine is reminding me that it’s time to unravel that messy ball of “should” in my life. The voice that I have been using in the world is not 100% mine and never has been. It’s part me and part what I perceive others want to hear.
Maybe this laryngitis, along with the other things that have kept me from moving forward, is trying to force me to stop and change my direction – rather like missing an exit on the highway and pulling over to look at a map before finding a new route. This is not a new experience, but this time I think it’s about time I finally listened.
I have to find my true, authentic voice and stop being afraid of what the world will think of it.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.